Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q: Why did you want to play this character?
A: When I was growing up, every kid wanted to be Davy
Crockett. I was born in Arkansas, and when you’re raised
in this part of the country, that’s just who you want to
be. So when I was offered the part I didn’t have to think
twice about it. He’s a larger-than-life figure who is also
very complex, and I felt I could play this character with many
colours. It’s a dream come true.
Q: So what kind of man was the real Davy Crockett?
A: Most people just know Davy Crockett as a guy who was
a bear hunter and someone who swung his rifle at The Alamo and
that was it. But he was a Congressman, and not everybody knows
that. He was seen as a hillbilly Congressman and was actually
ridiculed in Congress quite a bit when he first got there. So
I’m portraying him not as some sort of macho hero, but as
a real hero.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: If you totally have your mind made up to do something
and then you do it, there’s not a lot of courage in that.
There’s courage in having reservations about something,
or not really knowing why you’re there, and then deciding
to stay and actually becoming the last man standing. So I think
the way we portray Davy Crockett, as well as all of the other
main characters in this movie, is not only going to be satisfying
dramatically to an audience, it’s going to be historically
Q: Does that mean we won’t be seeing you in a racoon
hat with tail?
A: There is a scene in the movie where I wear a coonskin
hat and buckskin clothes and all that stuff when I first get to
town. I think the reason most people picture Davy Crockett that
way is because back in his time they did a play about him and
this guy who played him wore this ridiculous outfit with a coon
skin hat with a bunch of tails, and that became the sort of romanticised
version of Davy Crockett. But the thing is, Crockett was a legend
in his own time.
It wasn’t like he became a legend later on; he was a rock
star then. And then this play came along and got the whole coonskin
hat thing started, so when he would go around to see people, they
expected this version of Davy Crockett. But he really preferred
to be called David Crockett, especially once he became a Congressman.
He wanted to be respected that way, you know, even though he was
still kind of a hillbilly. But he was a very smart and very entertaining
guy and people really liked him. He loved to tell stories and
every now and then he would put on the hat and the clothes just
to sort of live up to the legend. But that wasn’t really
part of his normal wardrobe.
Q: Is it fair to say that
you have duplicated his look?
A: Yeah, I look just like him. It’s uncanny. If
I showed you a picture of Davy Crockett, it would shock the hell
out of you. I didn’t get this hair for the movie because
I thought it was cool. I got it because it’s exactly like
Q: And you like the look?
A: I like looking like Davy Crockett, but I’ve
liked the look of every other character I’ve played. If
I played a three-eyed monster, I’d like the look.
Q: How much did you know about The Alamo going into this
A: I studied The Alamo as much as anybody else did. When
you’re raised in the United States, it’s a huge thing,
The Alamo. But what you learn from the history books is just sort
of a real general thing – you don’t really learn the
details of it. All we knew was that the Texans fought the Mexicans,
and Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were there, and that was about
the extent of it. As a student, you don’t really know the
ins and outs of it.
So before we started doing this movie, I boned up on it and started
reading more history books and learned that, as in anything, these
people were human beings with a lot of different dynamics. It
wasn’t like the people came to The Alamo to defend it just
because it was a flag-waving thing.
A lot of people wanted to come to Texas because it was a new land
and they wanted to stake their claim. Plenty of wars have been
fought over land and this was another one. This just happens to
be one that stands out in history because of the numbers. It was
like 189 inside The Alamo against a Mexican army of 4,000 –
that’s why The Alamo has become so legendary.
Q: Because you’re taking on such a momentous event
and showing these characters as real people, and not one-dimensional
heroes, are you at all concerned about how this film will be perceived?
A: In the beginning I was a little nervous because we’re
making a historically accurate movie and you wonder, what will
Texans think? But we’re actually doing something that I
think will make Texans proud. We’re making a movie that
is based in fact and is as close as you can get to the diaries
At the same time, we’re giving people a good drama that
has moments of humour. So it’s an honour to do this and
everybody who’s here working on this movie wants to be here.
Usually, when you’re making a movie, you can tell about
halfway through if it’s the real thing, and this one is.
Q: As a veteran actor and director, can you sense early
on how a film is going to be received by critics?
A: I quit trying to project what a movie is going to
do, or how people are going to receive it a long time ago. A lot
of movies that are horrible do very well, and sometimes even the
critics like them and you think, how could they like that? Other
times, movies are really good and don’t get noticed and
the critics don’t quite get them. You never know what’s
going to happen. As for this film, I hope people understand that
it’s a movie about the pursuit of happiness, land and the
Q: Considering what’s going on in the world today,
are there lessons to be learned from The Alamo?
A: I don’t have anything really insightful or deep
to say about how The Alamo compares to what’s going on in
the world right now. In fact, I don’t have any views to
express about politics. When people asked Elvis Presley about
the Vietnam War, he said, "Frankly, I’m just an entertainer."
That’s kind of the way I look at it. I’m lucky to
get my pants on in the morning.